What are the greatest contributions of Cuban science against COVID-19

What are the greatest contributions of Cuban science against COVID-19

Granma shows below a review of the main contributions of Cuban science in this colossal battle against COVID-19
Author: Orfilio Peláez | orfilio@granma.cu
January 6, 2021

The priority given since its inception by the Revolution to create the human capital necessary to undertake the development of national science, build the required infrastructure and manage to insert ourselves, almost three decades later, in the nascent sector of the biotechnology industry under the guidance of Fidel , made it possible for Cuba to have a solid capacity to respond to the emergency situation caused by the entry into the country of COVID-19, last March.
From that moment on, our national science, technology and innovation system, characterized by its comprehensive and multisectoral conception, together with the selfless work of doctors, nursing staff, technicians and other health workers, became the main strength against to the pandemic and made it possible to obtain results that place us among the nations with the lowest lethality in the Americas and internationally, without regretting the death of any child, nor having the intensive care units collapsed, in addition to keeping the figure low of critically ill patients, to name a few of the most prominent.
Granma shows below a review of the main contributions of Cuban science in this colossal battle to save lives.
-Inclusion of recombinant human Interferon ALFA 2B (its commercial name is Heberón) in the treatment protocols against the disease from the appearance of the first cases. According to data from the MINSAP, as of April 14, 2020, 93.4% of patients with the new coronavirus sars-cov-2 had been treated with said drug and only 5.5% of them reached the state of gravity. The fatality rate reported on that date was 2.7%, while for the patients where it was used, it was 0.9%.
-Use of mathematical models designed by the Faculty of Mathematics and Computation of the University of Havana, in collaboration with other institutions, to predict the behavior of the disease.
-More than 20 Cuban medicines are currently part of the protocols for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.
-With the appearance of the first cases of COVID-19 in Cuba, the National Center for Biopreparations (BIOCEN) was dedicated to the manufacture of several of the main drugs of our biotechnology industry that are used against the SARS-COV-2 coronavirus .
-The development by BioCen researchers of the first Virus Transport Medium (BTV) obtained in Cuba, destined for the collection and transfer of nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal clinical samples from patients for the diagnosis of SARS-VOC, can be described as a true milestone .
-Development of new diagnostics for SARS-COV-2, by the Immunoassay Center.
-The creation of the first prototype of Cuban lung ventilator for assisted breathing, the result of the joint work of the Cuban Neuroscience Center, the Grito de Baire Company of the Union of Military Industries, the Combiomed Company, the Center for State Control of Medicines , Medical Equipment and Devices (CECMED) and the National Design Office. Of this prototype, 250 equipment must be delivered to the national health system.
- Led by the Institute of Hematology and Immunology, in May clinical trials with stem cells began to treat pulmonary sequelae in patients who had the disease.
-There are more than 80 investigative projects linked to COVID-19, completed or in progress, since the onset of the pandemic.
-Eight Cuban academics were chosen as advisers in the fight against the disease in the world. They are Luis Velázquez Pérez, Pedro Más Bermejo, Luis Herrera Martínez, Luis Carlos Silva, Tania Crombet Ramos, Guadalupe Guzmán Tirado, Jorge Núñez Jover and Rafael Bello Pérez.
-On August 24, Cuba began clinical trials of its first vaccine candidate for COVID-19, under the name of SOBERANA 1, conceived by scientists from the Finlay Vaccine Institute.
-At the beginning of November, the start of phase I clinical trials of a second vaccine candidate called Soberana 2 was announced. According to Doctor of Science Vicente Vérez Bencomo, general director of the Finlay Vaccine Institute, it is an unprecedented conjugate vaccine all those that are developed against the disease in the world, in which the virus antigen is chemically bound to tetanus toxoid.
-Researchers from the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB) presented two other vaccine candidates named Mambisa and Abdala. The first will be administered nasally, while the second is to be used intramuscularly. At the end of November, both received authorization from CECMED to start clinical trials, therefore Cuba already has four vaccine candidates in the clinical trial phase, a feat of the national biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.

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